You're probably already aware that video content on your website and social media channels is more valuable than written content when it comes to engaging customers. And with the growing prevalence of mobiles, webcams and affordable digital cameras, along with video sharing sites like YouTube, everyday folk also have the opportunity to create and share their own videos easily.

With ever more affordable options for businesses to create videos, and so much user-generated content being shared online, there are numerous opportunities to use video to reach out to new customers or to cement your relationships with existing ones, whether it's you or your customers who create those videos.

Here are four tips that will help you get closer to your customers using video content:

1) Create video testimonials

Getting your customers to provide testimonials, which you can then use on your website, social media and other communication channels, is a powerful way to attract new customers. If someone who has used your product says that they liked it and would recommend it to others, it'll go a long way towards convincing someone to take the leap if they're considering becoming your next customer.

Video testimonials can be even more powerful than written ones, because they're more entertaining to watch and even the most sceptical person will see that they're clearly for real. Being able to see the facial expressions of the customer as they talk about your product or service also gives a clearer impression of the feelings that go with the words your customer is saying.

Here's a video with some great advice about creating customer testimonial videos to put on your website:

2) Make use of video reviews

If your customers are leaving reviews of your products on their YouTube channels or vlogs, you can share their videos to show all the nice things people are saying about you. You could paste links to the videos on your website, blog or Facebook page, share them on your own YouTube channel (with the original uploader's consent, of course), or create a montage of quotes from everyone who's posted positive video reviews online.

One customer of Australian baby store Bubs n Grubs was so happy, he went to the length of sending them a video review by email. When they published the video on their YouTube channel, they received almost 200,000 views, which was great for their brand equity:

3) Run a customer video competition

Now that almost everyone has the technology to make their own home videos, there are a number of innovative ways you can use video for competitions. Offering a prize of a free product or cash in exchange for fan videos or video reviews is a great way to build advocacy from your loyal customers and attract new ones, while also gaining valuable feedback.

CrossFit is a programme designed to improve fitness and health. The company asked their customers to create videos about what CrossFit means to them, offering a cash prize of $10,000 US for the best video. Here's what one delighted customer came up with:

4) Respond to customer feedback

You may not be able to persuade your customers to make a video testimonial, submit a video review or create a video for a competition, but that doesn't mean that you can't turn the feedback or reviews they provide through other means into your own video content to boost your company's popularity.

If you're planning to make a promotional video for your product, you could intersperse it with a few short and snappy quotes taken from feedback you've received from happy customers on your social media channels, by email or on product review websites. Or if you have the resources, you could try posting short video responses to customer feedback you receive on Facebook and Twitter, rather than written replies.

In a slightly different vein, here's an innovative response from Indian software company FreeCharge to customers who gave them negative feedback in the app store:

If you've got any other great ideas, examples of clever video campaigns or something to say about the suggestions we've given here, please comment below – you can even include a link to a video response if you like!

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